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    Is Dirt Biking a Physically Demanding Activity?

    I came across a story today that sparked a little fire inside me. A young girl in a school class had the assignment along with her classmates to do at least 20 minutes of physical activity per day. This girl was skinny as a post and dirt biked regularly, so she decided that she would do dirt biking for her activity. The gym teacher would not allow it claiming that dirt biking was not a physical activity and that she should instead WALK 20 minutes per day! Obviously this teacher has never ridden a dirt bike. Surely if walking was considered acceptable, dirt biking should be too, right? Too many people have misconceptions of the sport of dirt biking. Here is a quote I found by a trainer of both top cyclists and motocross racers and his opinion about the physical demands of both.

    "Most of those that are around the industry and who closely follow the sport of motocross will tell you that motocross athletes are some of the fittest athletes in the world. Someone who would know is Dr. Jeff Spencer, who has trained athletes like Lance Armstrong and Chad Reed. When asked to compare the fitness level of Lance Armstrong to a top motocross racer, Dr. Spencer said, “Motocross by far requires the highest level of combined fitness of any sport on the face of the earth, bar none.” He continued, “I’ve spent 5 tours (Tour de France) with Lance Armstrong and Lance is no slouch. But Lances’ overall general fitness doesn’t even compare to the overall fitness of a motocross racer.”

    Speed TV.

    Of course dirt biking is demanding physically! Most people that disagree with this statement picture a leisure ride on flat ground. Dirt biking like any activity/sport has different levels of activity, such as walking compared to running. It all depends which level you chose to ride. Personally I chose to "run" on my dirt bike. If you chose the same, I promise, you will know you are getting a workout! Just because you are not racing in the Tour de France doesn't mean that cycling is not physically demanding, just as dirt biking is physically demanding even if you chose not to race motocross. The type of bike you chose to ride also contributes to the demands that it will place on your body. Those who think "the engine does all the work for you" should try to ride a race bike that is constantly doing work ON you. An engine capable of producing 50+HP takes an incredible amount of strength, balance, and stamina to control..after all, it is producing an incredible amount of RESISTANCE to your body. Now try to imagine the forces of stopping the bike, and the forces of the ground when the terrain gets really nasty pumping your arms, legs, torso etc., and if all that doesn't get you, then try pushing the 225 pound machine back onto the trail after is slides down a side hill, or jumping off to assist the bike up a super nasty hill pushing when traction is minimal, then holding on to the bike when the tire grabs and lurches forward!

    Research has shown that dirt biking at a normal level burns just as many calories as any other activity, including running, cycling, basketball etc. Here are a few more quotes I was able to dig up from people that ride dirt bikes, including this first one by a personal trainer.

    "I'm a personal trainer and thought when i picked up singletrack riding 2 years ago i could just get up and when i can't take my bike out i train for it in the gym. I thought i was in good enough shape for it and it whooped me, still does too! I'd rather take my clients out on the trails than keep them in the gym!"

    "There have been studies showing MX has been considered the second most physically demanding sport, second to soccer. Now granted, that is at a high level, for a long period of time, but as with anything, if you do it slower, it's not as athletic."

    "The National Sport Health Institute in Englewood, California tested several professional motocross racers in the early 1980s as part of a comparative study of the cardio-vascular fitness of athletes from various disciplines. Athletes from track, American football and soccer were tested, among others. The cardiac stress and strength test results compiled there revealed that the motocross subjects had as high of a fitness level as any other discipline tested."

    Obviously the people that claim riding a dirt bike is not physically demanding, are those who have never really ridden a dirt bike, or have never ridden at all! If you are not getting a workout when you ride, you simply are not riding hard enough. Just as running has sprints and marathons, dirt biking has erzberg and baja. If you go try to sprint a marathon, you simply won't make it. In any race or activity you must pace yourself if you expect to do well. Leisure dirt bike riding can be compared to going for a walk, nobody argues that marathons are not physically demanding, which is just a more intense form of walking, why is it that people question dirt biking?

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